The Chargé in Brazil (Gordon) to the Secretary of State
[Received 6 p.m.]
125. Department’s 82, May 6 , 2 p.m. Minister for Foreign Affairs was much pleased with the contents of your telegram. He quite understood your point of view as to the inadvisability of Brazil and the United States alone urging an immediate truce. However, he feels that the proposal should be made just as soon as the Foreign Ministers of the belligerents meet for their preliminary conversations in the presence of the representatives of the mediating powers without awaiting the sessions of the Conciliation Commission which may only take place a fortnight or more later. He feels that as the military situation is now more calm than it has been for some time if advantage is taken thereof the chances of the truce proposal being accepted will be greatly enhanced.
After seeing the Minister for Foreign Affairs I met the Secretary General of the Foreign Office who told me he was afraid that the Bolivians were going to make trouble. Yesterday evening he had seen the Bolivian Minister who told him that the Bolivian Government understood that Paraguay would insist that the conciliation negotiations should start completely de novo without connection with previous League recommendations or amendments thereof. The Bolivian Minister indicated that his Government was not willing to surrender its advantageous position vis-à-vis the League of Nations and to undertake conciliation discussions on such a basis. The Secretary General added that the information gathered from the Paraguayan Minister here and from the Brazilian Minister in Asunción was unfortunately to the effect that the Paraguayan Government does in fact insist that it has not accepted any definite formula for conciliation negotiations proposed by Argentina.
The Secretary General, who was definitely pessimistic, further stated that he had not yet learned that Chile and Argentina had pronounced themselves in favor of the direct preliminary conversations between the belligerent Foreign Ministers.
While the foregoing may sound somewhat astounding I am giving it to you just as the Secretary General gave it to me and trust that the matter can be clarified by you in direct conversations with the representatives in Washington of the countries concerned.
The Secretary General did admit that both Bolivia and Paraguay were still willing to have their Foreign Ministers engage in direct preliminary conversations. He added that he thought it was important for the mediating powers to have special representatives attend [Page 53] these conversations rather than merely their accredited diplomatic representatives in Buenos Aires. The Brazilian Government is considering sending ex-President Epitacio Pessôa.